Provencal Cuisine

By Viator, September 2014

5 84 Reviews | Add your review

Thanks to its picturesque setting on the Mediterranean coast, Provence, in Southern France, is blessed with a warm climate, idyllic landscape and highly fertile soils that yield a range of fresh produce to fuel the region’s famous cuisine. Far from the hearty breads and cheeses typical of French food, Provencal cuisine is characterized by its light Mediterranean flavors - sun-ripened vegetables, fresh Provencal herbs (native thyme, rosemary, basil, savory and marjoram, all sold around the world as ‘herbs de provence’), lashings of homegrown extra-virgin olive oil and a vast variety of fresh seafood.

Perhaps the most famous regional dishes are the bouillabaisse and ratatouille, which appear on most menus around the region. The former employs a choice selection of fish and shellfish, soaked in a tomato and saffron infused soup and served smeared in aioli, the region’s trademark creamy garlic sauce. Ratatouille is a more robust vegetable stew, flavored by regional vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onion and bell peppers. Nicoise salad (so called as it hails from Nice) is another famous specialty – a layered salad of tuna steak, lettuce, green beans and tomatoes, garnished with hard-boiled eggs and olives.

Thanks to the regions proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, seafood plays a big part in the region’s gastronomic charms with shrimps, mussels, clams, squid, langoustines (miniature lobsters), anchovies and tuna all gracing menus. Look out for brandade, a fish-and-potato stew made with local salt cod; rouget, a small red fish popular among locals; and loup, local sea bass typically grilled with fennel.

Of course, no self-respecting Frenchman would serve a meal without an accompanying breadbasket and Provence has its own regional delicacies to rival the humble baguette. Fougasse is the traditional bread, a circular flatbread often filled with nuts or olives. Also look out for Socca, a peppery bread made of chickpea flour; Pissaladiere, a local pizza-style flatbread; and Pan Bagna, a bread roll topped with anchovies, olives and tomatoes.

Tours & Tickets

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Small-Group Nice Food Tour: Provencal Specialties

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Location: Nice, France
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Location: Nice, France
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

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